- Blessing of Kings: This spell is now a base ability trainable by all Paladins.
- Exorcism: This spell now causes damage to all types of enemy targets. However, it always critical strikes undead or demon targets. This change should make sure Paladin damage doesn't drop when going from Naxxramas to later tiers of content.
- Shield of the Templar: Now causes your Avenger's Shield and Shield of Righteousness to silence targets for 3 seconds. The old damage bonus of this talent has been folded into Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield, and Shield of the Righteousness.
- Ardent Defender: Rank reduction.
- Improved Hammer of Justice: Rank reduction.
- One-Handed Weapon Specialization: Rank Reduction.
- Guarded by the Light: No longer reduces the mana cost of shield spells, but now has a 50/100% chance to refresh Divine Plea's duration.
- Judgements of the Just: Now also reduces the cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 10/20 seconds and increases the duration of Seal of Justice's stun effect by 0.5/1 second.
So how does this information affect Holy Paladins? Well, having looked over the information a couple times I have come to the conclusion that there is no big advantage or disadvantage here. Blessings of Kings really loses a lot of value once you hit the end of the Burning Crusade Expansion. In Wrath of the Lich King, Blessings of Kings is one of the things that are nice, but quite frankly, most Paladins have other blessings that are more beneficial. By making it access able to all Paladins though, Blizzard has done justice I think as this blessing does not tend to favor any one class more or less. Exorcism will fit nicely in a rotation for solo questing, but really does not make a huge difference in my opinion.
I grow increasingly skeptical everytime I read patch notes or things like this as Blizzard seems to be looking for quick fixes or ways to quiet the masses who demand equality. Part of the challenge of a game should be the challenge. It seems that a vast majority of players would just as soon have Blizzard make WoW a game where a level one, who is naked, can run straight through Naxx and down the bosses alone. Before anyone retorts with negative comments, it is just an example of the mindset of the players of the game. I have never considered myself a hardcore raider or a great PVPer, but I would like the game to maintain some sort of challenge. Another example of my reasoning is this post from Blizzard regarding upcoming changes for patch 3.1.
I am not directing my feelings of anger towards Blizzard because I feel they are attempting to fix something that they made way too easy. I am more aggravated by the Holy Paladins of the game who are complaining about Divine Plea being "nerfed" and how unfair it is. To be honest I am pleasantly happy with the majority of the blogging community, as there are many good articles up addressing the issue and stating that they are in agreeance with Blizzard on this. I fall in with this crowd, as I too, feel that the majority of Holy Paladins currently voicing the complaints on many servers are either one of two types of players:
Type One: Rolled a Paladin because retribution was the flavor of the day!
Under this type of Paladin, the player believed that their precious retribution build was going to get hammered so hard that they needed an out and healing looked good. Why not go for it? Most servers are crying for healers. I will tell you the problem with this mind set. Healing for a Paladin is more than spamming one spell. I do not care if you went with a haste gear build and spam Holy Light or if you went with a critical/MP5 build and think spamming Flash of Light is going to get the job done.
Type Two: New
As new players come into a game, they want to catch up with their friends or guild mates and race through all the "old" content in order to run with their friends. The problem with doing this is that you do not learn the different stages of healing as a Paladin, and in my opinion, the stages build on each other and teach you about tactics, strategies, and rotations. I can be somewhat forgiving of this group, but at the same time it still does not give a right to complain about any sort of nerf. At this point in time the game has evolved so far from where it was (this is good and bad) and if you are a new player, my advice is go back and run the instances with groups at your level and really learn your class and talent build, then if you have an opinion it will mean more because you will be able to back it up with facts, not just insane ramblings or complaints that really have no justification.
Alright, now that I got the side track out of my way, let me get back to Divine Plea. When this ability came out, I picked it up and have rarely used it. How the hell can someone not use an ability like this? Well, I despise change and adjusting my play style takes some time. My wife immediately saw this ability and started using it. I did not have an issue with the ability, but because I put my time in, my stats regenerated my mana and I never needed to use it. I think the large group of individuals who will not be happy with the reduction in the regeneration of their mana are those Paladins who completely avoided building MP5 into their current gear, but rather went after haste and critical (both are important) and felt that with the timing of Divine Plea, they could sustain their mana pool and spam Holy Light. Granted this takes some skill in developing a good arrangement for your gear and you have to be mindful of your timer, but having started leveling my DPS classes now (Warlock and Hunter), I have seen very few Paladins using Sacred Shield and Beacon of Light effectively, if at all. I think part of the reason for the "nerf" is to force Paladins to start using other abilities as well.
I truly hope that Blizzard continues to reign in some of the areas like Divine Plea. It is a great ability for a retribution build as they typically have a small mana pool. It even has uses for some protection builds, but holy Paladins truly found something they could abuse and for some it seems have become addicted to. I am sure after time, the complaining will stop and the chat channels will find something new to complain about. I actually think that the players who have skill will learn to play their classes regardless of "nerfs" or "buffs".